Chemotaxonomy of Borrelia

  • M. Anne Livesley
  • Patricia A. Nuttall
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 260)


Using FAME profiles we have demonstrated the inter-species differentiation of certain members of the spirochaete family- Leptospira, Serpulina and Borrelia species. Now we propose that intra-species differentiation of Borrelia species is possible using this phenotypic method. The delineation of B. burgdorferi into B. burgdorferi Sensu Stricto, B. garinii and Group VS461 as proposed by 16SrRNA sequencing is maintained. Isolates of B. hermsii form a separate group and B. turicatae and B. parkeri cluster together but within one group which includes all the Borrelia in our study. Previous studies of B. burgdorferi have not included examples of the relapsing fever borreliae, B. hermsii B. turicatae and B. parkeri. This does not allow the comparison of the results of FAME analysis with such genetic studies at present.

The B. garinii group contains the reference isolate, 20047 and a number of Swiss isolates. Group VS461 contains mostly European isolates whilst B. burgdorferi Sensu Stricto contains the reference isolate, B31 and several other American isolates. We propose that this clustering has arisen through convergent evolution of the Borrelia leading to the production of similar fatty acids by genotypically dissimilar groups.


Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Fatty Acid Profile Cellular Fatty Acid Borrelia Burgdorferi Methyl Tert Butyl Ether 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Anne Livesley
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Nuttall
    • 1
  1. 1.NERC Institute of Virology and Environmental MicrobiologyOxfordUK

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